We awakened to a brilliant sun underneath a blue spot in the sky. New snow from yesterday's storm draped the world in fresh and clean white powder.
Clouds floated among the snowy peaks of the Continental Divide to our west.
Low lying clouds crept down the valleys toward the flatlands.
We hiked in a finite gap in the clouds, with azure skies following over our heads.
To keep the gorgeous mountain views in sight, we took the high route, staying out of the trees and in the sunshine. The intense sun melted the snowflakes off K's head in minutes after she burrowed under snowy pine boughs.
Despite the sun, it stayed cold all day long so I took my close friend for quick and sneaky visit to the bear den. I chose today because the temperatures never rose much above freezing, making it likely that the bears would be sleepy.
We discovered that the bears hadn't been outside the den today, as no new tracks pocked yesterday's snow that carpeted the entryway to their den. When we peeked in the den, we still could see only the sow. We didn't see her yearling who was born during last year's hibernation - but he/she might have been hidden behind the sow. I started to worry about the little one.
Our remote wildlife cameras showed a quantum leap in the bears' activity over the past two weeks. To my relief, two different bears ventured outside the den numerous times. Each went outside alone, always rambling solo and staying close to the den.
Mama bear cautiously exited the den a few nights ago. We have video of her in addition to these still photos, and they show that she just ate snow on this outing.
On the following afternoon, the yearling ventured out. As the videos show (which I hope to post soon), he or she retains a young and energetic spirit, and engaged in more active outings than his mom.
Notice the white spot on the yearling's chest, the brownish and shaggy fur, and the youngster's diminutive frame. I love the footage of this little bear. I hope that I have time tomorrow to put together the many still photos and videos to show you.
My friend and I walked home full of wonder over nature and the tenaciousness of our wildlife. These amazing bears awed us.